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Keira Knightley has clocked her time as the beautified female lead, but in the last few years she’s made an obvious choice to go against the glamour, starring in films that push her acting abilities over her natural good looks. Whether it’s Ruth, a female clone raised for organ harvesting who slowly wilts away from existence in Never Let Me Go, or Sabina in A Dangerous Method, a mental patient-turned-psychiatrist tortured by sexual repression, Knightley has boldly stepped forward from her Pirates of the Caribbean success, always prioritizing great material over looking picture perfect.
I felt the same way watching Knightley in her latest film, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. The movie puts her in the shoes of Penny, a carefree soul more worried about her record collection then her at-the-moment boyfriend, even with the apocalypse swiftly approaching. The attitude permeates to her look, a simple, unkept look that transforms Knightley into just another gal from the hood. But she’s anything but, able to deliver on all the existential woes that come hand-in-hand with the end of the world.
I sat down with Knightley to discuss her look in Seeking a Friend, how the film was a change of pace then her aggressively physical roles of recent years, and the friendship she formed with Steve Carell during the making of the movie. As she puts it, “you can not like someone and play there lover, but you can’t not like someone and play their friend.”
Anytime Keira Knightley and director Joe Wright meet up, there’s sure to be a stylish literary adaptation left in their wake. The duo has collaborated on two ambitious projects to date, Jane Austen’s most famous novel, “Pride & Prejudice,” and “Atonement,” a so-called inadaptable novel by Ian McEwan.
And now, they’re teaming up again to take on a classic work of Russian literature, Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.”
Knightley spoke with MTV News while promoting her new film “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” and she tried to explain what it is about working with Wright that makes her tackle such ambitious stories and keep coming back for more.
The actress said she couldn’t know for sure what makes the partnership work so well, but pointed to several similarities that certainly help. “I don’t know what it is. We really get on. Obviously we do, otherwise we wouldn’t work together so many times,” she said. “We have a similar aesthetic. I think we have a similar way of viewing the world and the kind of interests in it. Clearly, we both love literature. That helps.”
With this kind of working relationship, Knightley said she has never known why they work or don’t work. “I just think it’s one of those things. It’s down to chemistry,” she said. “When it’s films, it’s down to liking a similar sort of film and similar sort of vibe, so you can understand each other.”
For their third collaboration, however, things will be different. According to Knightley, the look of “Anna Karenina” will be much more theatrical than both “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement.”
“The only similarity, I think, in the work is that they’re both based on novels. I think this one is very different, but then I would say that ‘Atonement’ is very different from ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ ” she said. “This one’s very different in that it’s much more theatrical. It’s not a naturalistic take on the piece. It’s a very theatrical, dramatic take on the piece, which for when the trailer comes out that will make a lot more sense, when people start seeing it.”
But like their other films together, “Anna Karenina” is a difficult novel to adapt, so Knightley is hoping for the best. “It’s incredibly difficult. It’s obviously a wonderful, wonderful book, but it’s a massive book, and trying to get that in the film, that’s tricky,” she said. “Hopefully … the stuff I’ve seen is good, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
Kiera Knightley visited Chad with Soccer Aid to see UNICEF’s work for children in the country. She recorded this diary during her trip. Selected extracts from this diary appeared in the Radio Times, issue dated 22 May 2012. You can read Keira’s entries HERE. Thanks to Eli!
Keira Knightley will marry rocker James Righton in a “very beautiful city in Europe”, according to his father Nick. Speaking to the Stratford Herald newspaper, he refused to reveal specific details of the nuptials, though was sure to give out a couple of clues.
When pressed on the exact location of the “beautiful city”, Nick backtracked, saying, “I’ve not heard anything about wedding dates or where the wedding will take place.Keira is filming in New York soon and James is busy in the studio finishing off The Klaxons latest album which is 90 per cent done, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one”. Perhaps Knightley will return to Vienna, Austria, where she recently filmed the psychological-drama ‘A Dangerous Method’, with Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender. Righton’s father said he was over the moon with news of the engagement and claimed the couple would not lose sight of their upbringing, saying, “I would say that despite all the glamour around them they are a couple in their late twenties who treasure traditional family values. Keira has stayed here in Stratford and we all get along fine. It’s like one big happy family, and I’m delighted for them”.
Knightley has established herself as an A-list Hollywood actress, though Righton is a little less well known. He is the keyboard player for indie rock band Klaxons, who won the Mercury Music Prize for their debut album ‘Myths of the Near Future’.
After about a year of dating, the Oscar-nominated actress is engaged to rocker James Righton of The Klaxons, her publicist Sara Keene confirmed to the Associated Press on Friday. The rep noted that Knightley, 27, and Righton, 28, have no comment on their wedding plans or details of the proposal.
The duo were first photographed kissing an East London park April 10 of last year. According to reports, they had been introduced by mutual fashionista friend Alexa Chung.
It will be the first marriage for both Righton and the Pirates of the Caribbean star, who confirmed the end of her five-year relationship with actor Rupert Friend in December 2010.
The resolutely private actress spoke to Marie Claire in 2010 about the challenge of balancing her busy professional life with romance.
“It’s hard to have a relationship when I’m working so much,” she said. “But then you have to think, ‘What is actually important in life?’ Is career your only thing? That’s sad, because there’s going to come a day when you’re left lonely. It’s a difficult compromise. I think you’ve got to strive for balance. It’s the striving that counts.”
Discreetly, quietly, and with the sort of delicate earnestness that she does most things, Keira Knightley has emerged as one of her generation’s preeminent period actresses. This, however, is less a comment on Knightley’s predilection for peddling in corsets in films such as Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Atonement (2007), for which she has earned both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, and more one on her faithful, almost throwback, workaday sense of what her job is and how to go about it. Knightley’s film career nominally began a very long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—her first role in a major movie was a part as a handmaiden drafted into serving as an expendable double for Natalie Portman’s Queen Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). But in the intervening years, careening between smaller projects like John Maybury’s The Edge of Love (2008) and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go (2010), and big-budget extravaganzas like the Pirates of the Caribbean films, she has managed to knit together a string of performances that are both emotionally complex and powerfully economical. “I first met Keira when she was 17,” says Wright. “She was a goofy kid then. But she’s always had a fiercely inquisitive nature. It’s been a privilege to bear witness to her development.”
Before speaking with Keira Knightley about her new movie A Dangerous Method, I took another glance over her lengthy list of previous roles. She’s really done a little of everything—action (The Pirates Trilogy), comedy (Bend It Like Beckham), romance (Pride and Prejudice), sci-fi (Never Let Me Go) and a few projects that are nearly unclassifiable (The Jacket). Not surprising, considering she’s one of the most versatile, in-demand actresses working today. The real shocking part? She’s only twenty-six!
With so much of her career ahead of her, it’s no wonder why Knightley is branching out, starring in one of the truly daring films of 2011. In Method, the actress co-stars as Sabina Spielrein, a young girl stricken by dementia who finds a cure through her own budding interest in psychoanalytics. Her doctor and mentor is the famed Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), who helps her overcome her physical and mental issues through correspondence with his own colleague, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Jung and Spielrein’s relationship complicates when their work evolves into a lustful romance.
Knightley spoke to me on her day off from a new movie to discuss A Dangerous Method, digging deep into the clouded mind of her character, working with legendary director David Cronenberg and why crafting intense drama doesn’t stop her from having a swell time.